Of Wemmicks and Woodcarvers

Somehow, our family ended up with a copy of a children’s book by Max Lucado, a pastor in San Antonio, Texas. I don’t remember how we obtained it, and we no longer have it, but I like the message of the book You Are Mine.

This book and its sequels are about fictional beings called Wemmicks who were created by a woodcarver named Eli. Lucado teaches some Christian principles through these stories. The stories center around Punchinello, one of the Wemmicks, who learns through his experiences about his inherent value as a creation of the woodcarver. (Warning: spoilers ensue.)

In You Are Mine, as they interact with each other in daily life, the Wemmicks affix stars or dots to each other for actions perceived as positive or negative, respectively. The stars and dots tell others at a glance whether you tend to do good or bad things, allowing them to form an instant judgment. Which of course also affects the individual Wemmicks’ self-judgment.

Punchinello is somewhat clumsy and ineloquent, so he ends up with plenty of dots and thinks he must not be worth much. Sometimes I feel like I’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

But matters take a turn when he meets Lucia, a Wemmick who has neither stars nor dots. When Punchinello asks why and how, she suggests he go and talk with Eli the woodcarver. Punchinello does so. He learns that it doesn’t matter what others think of him because Eli thinks he’s priceless. And that’s because Eli created him, and Punchinello belongs to him.

Being a children’s story, one of this allegory’s strengths is the simplicity with which it isolates a grand truth: God loves you simply because you are His child. And if you know that, many other things cease to matter.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life” (“Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You”).

Life in these times is complicated, and sometimes we like to complicate simple truths by adding qualifiers to them. In this case, it sounds something like, “Heavenly Father loves everyone—but He can’t love me.” It’s not our place to adjust eternal verities, to take a divine absolute and dial it back a mite.

God can say “you are mine” because we are His children.

Jesus can say “you are mine” because He paid the uttermost farthing for our deliverance from death and hell.

The Father made us, and the Son remakes us. They are the woodcarvers, and we are the wood, their creations. Their love for us simply is. Unequivocal, unreserved, and unchangeable.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

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